The New Jersey Titans spoiled the Black Bears’ first ever game in the North American Hockey League by winning 6-3 at Piney Orchard Arena Friday night.
Kyler Head notched a goal and two assists, part of a four-goal second period that led the Titans to an opening night victory. Josef Glamos, Zach Nazzarett, Ryan Naumovski, Cam Gendron and Mac Wiseman also scored while Brandon Perrone earned the win in his first start of the season.
Hundreds of fans packed into Piney Orchard Arena to see the Black Bears kick of its inaugural season. Maryland appeared to feed off the crowd’s energy as they generated a couple of scoring chances in the opening minutes. Marek Wazny would eventually score the first goal in Black Bears’ history by tapping a rebound past Perrone at 3:04 into the first period.
“I thought our team came out flat for the most part, and we allowed their crowd to be a factor early in the game,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “I think for many new players, it was an adjustment playing in front of people and having a crowd against you. Full credit to Maryland and their fans for having a great atmosphere on opening night.”
The Titans, however, settled down and caught a break when Josef Glamos evened the score at 13:06. Black Bears goaltender David Tomeo went out of his net to play the puck, as Glamos intercepted a pass and fired a shot into the open net for his first of the season.
The Black Bears took two penalties early in the second period and gave the Titans a 5-on-3 power play, but was later negated by a high sticking penalty from Gavin Gulash. The Titans still managed to take the lead as a cross-crease pass from Kyler Head found the stick of Zach Nazzarett, who tapped in a shorthanded goal.
Jake Sujishi knotted the score at 7:10 of the second period by going to the backhand on Perrone, but New Jersey responded with three unanswered goals in a span of 6:18. Ryan Naumovski ripped a shot past Tomeo from the left circle to give the Titans the lead at 8:39. Cam Gendron tallied the Titans’ second shorthanded goal by going to the backhand on a breakaway at 11:25, while Kyler Head notched his second goal of the period at 14:57.
Maryland was able to muster one last goal off the stick of Cameron Teamor. However, the Titans cruised for the rest of the third period before Mac Wiseman sealed the victory with an empty-net goal at 18:39.
Doremus spoke about the Titans’ PK unit, which killed all seven Black Bear power plays while netting two shorthanded goals.
“All the credit goes to assistant coaches Bobby DiRico and Gary Biggs. They have done an excellent job all offseason working on the PK system and style of play, and I believe tonight’s victory is due in large part to our PK and strong goaltending,” he said.
Starting off the season 1-0-0, the Titans will look to sweep the weekend as they face the Black Bears again on Saturday night with a 7:45 puck drop.